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Calgary to launch food waste pilot program that had 'promising results' in Ontario

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The City of Calgary says it will begin a pilot program aimed at cutting down on food waste by local restaurants and other businesses later this year.

The strategy, developed by the Circular Innovation Council, is expected to improve affordability of food waste collection, reduce disposal costs and greenhouse gas emissions and connect businesses with charitable organizations that have the ability to redistribute "rescued" food.

The city says the plan has already achieved international recognition in southern Ontario.

During the rollout of that program, which lasted approximately 10 months, 318 tonnes of organic waste was diverted and 16.1 tonnes of edible food was recovered and redistributed to nine local charities. The value of the "rescued" food was about $114,854.

"This pilot has shown promising results in other jurisdictions, showing that businesses and communities can work cooperatively to not only reduce the cost and environmental impacts of food waste, but also improve food access for community agencies and families," said Kayley Fesko, a waste diversion specialist with the City of Calgary, in a statement.

Beginning in early 2023, the Circular Innovation Council will work with partners to build Calgary's program and seek private-sector sponsors to support it.

The city invites businesses who generate food waste to participate.

Officials say the introduction of such a program comes at a time that is "more critical than ever."

"In a 2019 waste composition study, food waste made up 43 per cent of garbage bin waste for the Accommodation and Food Services sub-sector in Calgary," the city said.

Further details about the program can be found online.

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